I'm back with another I Wonder Wednesday interview. Today it is with the lovely Moorea Seal. When I started blogging she was one of the first ones I discovered and I love how relaxed hers felt. Her natural style and beautiful designs just seemed to put me at ease. If you haven't had the chance of seeing her work or reading her blog, I assure you that will change after you read through this interview. Her warm spirit will draw you in for sure! So without further introduction... her is Moorea.
first off, introduce yourself. Hello everyone! My name is Moorea Seal and I am the ripe old age of 24. I am a jewelry designer, a blogger, a blog designer, an illustrator, and a musician. These days, music is my hobby while I juggle everything else a bucket of careers, all tangled up with each other. You could say my blog is my bucket, and everything else makes guest appearances in the bucket. Okay, this may be a bad analogy :)
I spent my youngest years in a village of 400 in England and I moved to Norther California when I was eight, transitioning from green rolling farmland hills to rugged mountains scattered with pine trees. I have loved art, and knew I would enter into a career in the arts, for my whole life which is what brought me to Seattle, WA for college. I have my B.A. in Studio Art with an emphasis in Illustration/New Pictures. Kind of a crazy long degree name, right? After graduating in 2009, I ended up staying in Seattle so I could be an artist's assistant to an incredible sculptor named John Grade. And here I am today in 2011, still in Seattle, working out of my home and being my own boss everyday. I dig it!
I would say that my personal style is a mixture of modern, feminine, edgy, and a little bit earthy. Sounds like it couldn't mix, but check out my jewelry line and you'll get it :) I love chevrons, triangles, neutrals, pops of metallic colors, gold, silver, brass, army green, wood, leather, nature, big chunks of raw crystals and stones, arrowheads, taxidermy, history, Native American and Middle Eastern patterned material, and anything that manages to combine the feel of Urban NY and an old man's hunting lodge. That's me!
when and why did you start blogging?
I believe my first blog was probably around 2001 or 2002 when I was 15 or so, starting with Xanga or Live Journal. I was excruciatingly shy when I was younger and I took all of my thoughts very seriously (too seriously) and I needed a place to vent. As the years progressed through high school, I started to think of my blogs as places to share my art and places to find connections with people similar to me. I was a very lonely kid, extremely torn between my religious beliefs and my artistic creative angsty side. Blogging gave me the opportunity for me to find other people like me. It helped me realize that I am never alone in my thoughts or feelings. In a lot of ways, it helped me find stability, strength, and pride in who I am because I found community and was able to speak clearly and honestly without being judged. Now, years later, my blog is a place to house all that I do, all that I create. It was the platform from which I was able to jump into running my own businesses and pursue being my own boss. And because of the growth I have thankfully been able to experience since I was a lonely little 15 year old girl, I am now able to use my blog as a place to bring encouragement, love, and empowerment to other women of all ages.
what motivates you to keep going even through the rough times of owning your own business? Oh man. Well, I won't go into the trauma I have experienced in my life. But when you can say for sure that you have absolutely lived through seeing and experiencing your greatest fear becoming a reality, and once you have seen that your life still keeps moving even through the greatest trauma, as long as you continue to love others and have belief in yourself through it all, you will be just fine. Relationships and love are far more powerful than business. It doesn't matter how much money you are making or not making. It doesn't matter how well or badly your business is doing. It is all about remembering you are alive, your goals are dreams are valid, and you DO have it within you to keep going through any situation to make your dreams a reality. You are your own worst enemy, but bigger than that, you are your own greatest support and motivator. If you have confidence in yourself, others will begin to see it too. And if you willingly strive to give love and support to others, they will want to give that love and support back to you. When you build up your community, they will build you up too. And when you are going through rough times, they will lift you up, like you would lift them up if they are down. What keeps me going through rough times in business is remembering, my love of self and my community is far more important than anything. As long as those two things are there, I can be thankful and joyful no matter what. :)
how do you promote your business?
My own blog is probably my best promotion. Because I do so many things as a profession, jewelry designing, blogging, blog designing, and freelance illustrating, anyone interested in those specific things can also learn about everything else I do simply by visiting my blog. Building healthy, respectful, supportive and loving relationships with friends in similar and complimentary businesses is natural promotion because if you are genuinely friends with someone, you will automatically want to support and promote each other. Like Conan says, "Having a good work ethic and always being kind to others is what gets you somewhere. Not being mean." And no being fake! I'm not into schmoozing just to get something out of someone. Yuck.
when and how did you become a part of the freckled nest team?
Last Winter/Spring, I took Indie Biz 2.0 which is an amazing Indie Business course for people interested in, or already established in their own independent business. It was started by Leigh Ann from Freckled Nest and Jill from Lune Vintage. My dear friend Kyla from KylaRoma.com was taking the class and I thought, since I had recently started up my jewelry Etsy shop and I had just started blog designing, why not join in on the class too! The class helped me SO much and I was so inspired and encouraged by Leigh Ann, Jill, and the guest teacher for that year Elsie from A Beautiful Mess. Leigh Ann and I connected through the class and eventually became friends. She really liked my design and illustration style, which made me feel pretty special! At this point in the late summer of 2010, Leigh Ann was running her blog design business all by herself but she was getting so overwhelmed with orders that it was time for her to expand, so she invited Kyla and I to become designers for her blog design company! I was SO thrilled and I am still so thankful for Leigh Ann, inviting me on to her team and mentoring me in so many ways. We are now a team of 8 designers and 4 formatters! Can you believe that!?! All within a year. Leigh Ann is one of my heroes and favorite friends. She is an incredible example of a woman who understand business well, knows when to go it alone and when to expand, and always is graceful, friendly, and wise. I owe a lot of my business skills to her.
i am a college student that is graduating this fall in hopes of living off my own creative business, any advice?
For one, absolutely take Indie Biz 4.0 when it next comes out. Read up on the info about the Indie Biz class here. My business has been very successful in the past year for a number of reasons, but a major one is because of the tools that Indie Biz gave me. Secondly, like I said before, always remember that hard work and kindness are what get you somewhere, not sneakiness, manipulation, stealing other people ideas, or thinking you are better than anyone. It is extremely important that you CHOOSE to have confidence in yourself, in what you create, and in your own voice. This is YOUR brand and people are going to be interested in it because you are truly revealing the uniqueness and reality of you through what you create. No one will be interested if you down play your work or if you believe you are nothing. You don't want people to buy your stuff because they think you are desperate, needy, or they feel like they have to pity you. You ARE something, believe in that! And people will be excited to see you do well if you just have faith in yourself, no matter what. Don't lose humility as you slowly gain success. Show offs are no fun. But a successful person who is confident, humble, wise, and seeks to bring love and happiness to others through what they create and love is the greatest. I mean, hello, look at Oprah! Let's all just try to be like our own versions of Oprah, haha.
describe your personality in five words.
do you have a style icon? and if so, who and why do you feel a personal connection with them?
Hmm...you know, I don't have a style icon. I have certain people who I admire for certain things like Leigh Ann is my business lady hero. One of my art professors in college, Laura Lasworth, is my intellectual and emotional hero for being so persevering and dedicated to what she creates and for being so encouraging while also challenging her students. I guess it's more like I know who my mentors are, but as for style, I try to create that for myself. I admire how Leigh Ann and Laura know exactly what feels, looks, smells, like their aesthetic, though my aesthetic is different than theirs. If you check out my pinterest boards, you can definitely get a sense of my aesthetic through a wide range of things. And I am happy I can see my own taste in a variety of brands, designers, styles, objects and so on and so forth because it means I get my inspiration for millions of places, but what I love always feels truly me. And what a bore it would be if I just mimicked someone else who was already famous, or if I felt super similar to some big out there. I want to create my own style, my own presence, my own future that feels genuinely me, style and all :)
share a favorite quote of yours and why it inspires you.
I grew up in a religious family, my dad is an Episcopalian priest. But I was also encouraged to learn about lots of religions through my dad's Buddhist monk friends, or through my Jewish roots, or through my Muslim cousins. Spirituality is very powerful and important to me personally, and what I see in the goodness of all religions and philosophies of living is the center of COMPASSION. I think that to "Love Your Neighbor as You Love Yourself" is the most powerful phrase I have ever heard in my life. A life where I constantly seek and find life in loving, encouraging, and inspiring others is just beautiful to me. And in that, seeking to love oneself equally as one loves others is JUST as important and equally challenging as loving others. For me, following my passions in art making is a way for me to invest in myself, love myself, and show respect for myself. And in doing so, I can bring love and encouragement to others as well, whether it is through someone wearing a handmade necklace of mine that they love or someone getting a blog designed by me that I put lots of effort and love into, or someone just finding words of encouragement in what I write about on my blog. I find my energy in being alone and in quiet focus. But I can still love others through what I create and what tactile mementos of love they receive from me. I can love myself by doing what brings me energy and peace.
In loving yourself, you are more full of love to be able to spread to others. And in loving others, you find reminders of why you are a valuable person in your community. "Love Your Neighbor as You Love Yourself." Seek to love others and yourself WITHOUT judgment. It is a life long challenge and it is hard for sure. But, man, you will have so much to be proud of as you look back on your day of loving, your week, your month, your lifetime, if you just keep trying. Their is no failure. It is just try and try again. Each moment you are alive is a success :) Running your own business is just a cherry on top!
now, just some fun picks to share:
organized or messy? Organized
vintage or new? New
mix-matched or matchy? Mix-matched, but cohesive :)
realistic or ideal? I need both, evenly!
and lastly, what's your favorite accessory? a good pair of shoes. When I look down at my feet and they just look sharp, I feel grounded, strong and confident. When I feel like stomping through the day with confidence, I put on my rough and tough boots. When I'm feeling especially strong as a woman, I wear my heels and have confidence in my stature. Shoes say it all!
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Thank you so much Moorea for
answering all my questions!
You answers really hit home with me.
You are truly an inspiration for me!
Want to see more of Moorea?
Visit her at:
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peace. love. create. -victoria